Upstate Virtual Listening Tour

Transitioning from Crisis to Recovery

In June, Ten at the Top hosted a Virtual Listening Tour in the seven non-urban counties of the Upstate to provide an opportunity for leaders and stakeholders within the counties to share about their specific experiences and challenges related to COVID-19 and to help identify specific resources or areas where TATT and partners from across the region can help support local efforts as we transition from crisis to recovery mode. Below is a quick overview of what we learned; you can click here for a complete summary of the tour.

Recaps from each meeting are provided in the county tabs below the infographic.

 

Cherokee County: May 19th

You can click here to see the video of the meeting.

Opening Welcome and Context– Dean Hybl 

Initial Questions – Dean Hybl and/or TATT Board Members 

Within your county, what has been the impact and response around the following areas? 

Personal Well-Being (social services and health care)

Tammy Bright (United Way of the Piedmont):

    • Their center is not open; only one person is there doing emergency work, others working from home.
    • There is a lot of need, mostly with rent/mortgage, water bills, power, etc. Most need is due to job/income loss. These are mostly NEW clients (not the usual people seen).
    • People are encouraged to use the 211-resource line since there are funds available. Food available.

Manufacturers and other larger employers

Ken Moon (Cherokee County Development Board):

    • Unemployment numbers are high because of high concentration of restaurant/retail employees
    • Partnered with Chamber of Commerce on newsletter to small businesses.
    • Industry pivoted quickly, switching to make PPE
    • On a scale of 1-10, he ranked it 6-8

Local (non chain or franchise) Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Brian Ziegelheafer (BGEN business incubator):

    • Small businesses and entrepreneurs have applied for unemployment more than they’ve applied for PPP and other federal funds, but they’re using both
    • Businesses are using all options, including microloans
    • The Big E is challenged by restrictions and is appealing them
    • Surprisingly, small businesses are doing OK, but restaurants are not. 3-4 restaurants have closed permanently
    • On a scale of 1-10, he ranked it 6

Restaurants & Retail (see Brian’s response above)

  • Education
  • Local & county governments

Pat Luker (City of Gaffney):

    • Emphasized she is only speaking from her specific job role and she’s working from home
    • There are drop boxes available, forms have been moved to the lobby
    • Information is put online and sent by email as much as possible.
    • Licenses, applications, and more info are available online
    • Holding architectural review meetings by Zoom

Have you formed new local, regional or state partnerships to address the crisis? If so, please name.

COVID-19 task force has been created and has just started meeting, with representatives from Limestone College, Spartanburg Regional, Upstate Workforce Board, small business owners, construction, etc.

Specific Questions Related to Economic Development – Erin Ouzts 

Before the crisis, what would you say was the health of small businesses and entrepreneurs in your community (robust, growing, average, below average)? Who were/are the “go to” resources and organizations within your community that support small businesses and entrepreneurs?

Ken Moon reported 7-9.

In what ways, specifically, has the crisis impacted those small businesses and entrepreneurs?

From the revenue perspective, stay at home orders and social distancing have had the most impact. Larger restaurants can handle more people, smaller ones might go out of business (however Olive Garden closed permanently). Cleaning guidelines are very difficult to keep up. Big E had to pre-purchase a two-month supply of hand sanitizer to reopen at a $10K expense in addition to loss of income.

What resources or strategies has your community used to help small businesses and entrepreneurs? Have there been specific challenges for your manufacturing and larger employers that is different than for smaller businesses or retail? If so, how has it been addressed?

Ken Moon – Determine biggest need, municipality perspective and small business perspective in same room yesterday. Biggest challenge is that the CARE ACT $6m stimulus per week was meant to top off income but $600 stipend was distributed on top of unemployment. Larger employers are competing with unemployment insurance and there is a disconnect between federal and state plans.

Nikoya Shaw (Upstate Workforce Board): Virtual job trainings happening. Upstate Workforce is working on mediations regarding unemployment insurance and with state to determine most efficient way to get back to work.

Specific Questions Related to Infrastructure – Michael Hildebrand (SHARON NOTES)

Given that many of the people who have been working are in lower paying service jobs and often have issues related to access to transportation, has that been a challenge for some of your businesses and workers during the crisis? If so, how has your employers or community addressed the challenge?

  • We had transportation issues pre-COVID-19 that we were tackling, and the issues were further exacerbated by COVID-19.
  • No taxis, no Uber, lot of people with no transportation.
  • Families picking up food, but no transportation. MOW had to assist to get food

As more people look to go back to work, what are some of the fundamental challenges that your community is trying to understand and address?

  • Childcare—not sure how many centers have reopened.

What has been the availability of broad band and internet within your county? Is lack of internet access a major or minor issue for your communities?

 

Social Service Needs & Challenges – Justine Allen 

To what level has the school district (or districts depending on the county) played a role in supporting social service needs, especially for school age children? Do you foresee that continuing into the summer?

Schools did make guidance counselors available, but teachers are stepping up in that role as well. Very hard to not have the in-person connections/touch base and provide resources to families (not sure folks realize how much teachers are doing behind the scenes; they are often the first to know of a family’s hardship, etc.)

No summer plans yet; Cates will send Justine a contact name for more info

What organizations have been the leaders within your community in trying to address the needs of individual residents? Have these organizations worked together or been more or less working individually?

  • Has your county been able to identify additional local financial resources to help support social service needs? If so, how has it been organized?
  • Have there been any specific efforts in your community targeted at supporting seniors? If so, what has been the result and feedback?
  • Are there clear groups of people within your community who are not being served to the level needed so far in the crisis (falling through the cracks)? If so, what support do you need to try and reach those groups?

General Wrap-Up Questions – Sharon Purvis will start and then others can follow-up 

Are there any collaborative partnerships (local, regional or state) that you wish could have been formed early on in the crisis? If so, if they were developed now, would they still be helpful?

Frannie – mentioned the recovery task force with head leaders – where to go after COVID-19, discussed by sector.

Are there any type of resources that would be helpful that maybe you have not seen or seen used in other places that might be helpful to have some exposure to for your county?

Frannie – Cherokee County will mirror Greenville Chamber efforts and send letters to local official regarding tax relief including legislators, senators, house of representatives. Problems with smaller businesses not being eligible due to revenue last year, not enough employees, not able to open and therefore not able to accept loans within the allotted eight weeks.

Is there a local effort that was already ongoing (we will know these in many of the counties and can specifically refer to them) that has been put to the “back burner” due to the COVID-19 crisis? If so, what is the current status and do you see the effort starting to again move forward soon? If so, what can we or others do to help?

Know2 – Teresa Spires working on rollout with Metropolitan Studies Institute to talk about community health needs. Grant including health and all sectors? Holding off for now on releasing data to public to make a big impact. This would be difficult to do virtually but they are considering options.

Given the continued uncertainty around the crisis, do you in general feel that your county is well prepared to be able to maintain support for the ongoing challenges if there is a need for 3-6 months or longer or are you concerned that resources and support could dry up and fatigue are close?

Frannie – lots of uncertainty. People trying to find ways to move forward. Hopefully not too many more businesses will close.

 

Open Up for questions from others in attendance and/or additional comments from the county participants. How long this lasts will be dependent on how much time remains in our hour.

Katherine Amidon – ways to get creative? Teresa Spires considering virtual format. Will they get level of engagement looking for to reinvigorate Know2 virtually?

Josh Fowler – trying to determine how they can help.

Ken – has faith that the state will continue to step up and get stuff when needed. Appreciates everyone’s help, including TATT’s.

 

Greenwood County: May 27th

You can click here to see a video of the meeting

Opening Welcome and Context– Dean Hybl 

Initial Questions – Dean Hybl and/or TATT Board Members

Start with quick survey about general impact & response of COVID-19 in county. Survey results:

Rankings from 10 Respondents Greenwood Listening TourWithin your county, how do you feel the needs of your restaurants and retail stores have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels.
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your manufacturers and other larger employers have been met? Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels.
When it comes to social services and health care in Greenwood County, how do you feel your community’s personal well-being needs have been met? Rate from 1-10. 1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels.Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your local (non-chain or franchise) small businesses and entrepreneurs have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels.
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your schools, colleges, and universities have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels.
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your local and county governments have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels.
 Average6Average8Average8Average6Average7Average6
 Mean5Mean8Mean8Mean6Mean7Mean5
 Low3Low7Low6Low4Low5Low2
 High9High10High9High9High8High10


Specific Questions Related to Economic Development – Erin Ouzts

Before the crisis, what would you say was the health of small businesses and entrepreneurs in your community (robust, growing, average, below average)? Who were/are the “go to” resources and organizations within your community that support small businesses and entrepreneurs?

Ben Calhoun (SCSBDC): coming into the crisis, things were very strong;

Lara Hudson (Uptown Greenwood Development Corporation): As far as uptown businesses, very strong group of businesses, pre-pandemic they were flourishing, more stores and businesses opening

David Dougherty (Greenwood Chamber of Commerce): mixed bag from Chamber perspective, incorporates nonprofits

In what ways, specifically, has the crisis impacted those small businesses and entrepreneurs?

Lara: A lot of businesses didn’t know where to turn—specifics of pivoting to curbside, interpreting the governor’s order. Getting a lot of information from Main Street USA

What resources or strategies has your community used to help small businesses and entrepreneurs?

In addition to the good job Ben has done, there’s been a lot from the Chamber world.

Ben—weekly webinars, content-centered, SBA programs, now more of a Q&A format, will probably pivot again and adjust content; good format for people to find out about resources; collaborations are putting us in a good position to deal with these situation in the future

Have there been specific challenges for your manufacturing and larger employers that is different than for smaller businesses or retail? If so, how has it been addressed?

Heather: One major industry cited COVID as a contributing factor to an already troubled facility, but otherwise, companies have been working well, some have pivoted to new product lines. For the most part it’s been positive. $40-50 million investment before council now. Seem to be positioned to see a pretty good year, trying to mitigate what we hear from industries

David: Chamber has convened mfg., none having serious problems with attendance, etc. Arms around good protocols to keep employees safe; spotty furloughs taking place, but recalls coming; mfg community is healthy and poised to come out of this well.

CARES act: David—banks have been very responsive

Dean: how did you support local businesses?

Lara: Team Greenwood, Uptown Greenwood made lists of curbside, pick-up, getting ready to kick off “we’re open when you’re ready” campaign

Stephen Gilbert (Greenwood Community Theater): Curtains Up Coalition, trying to raise awareness of the performing arts. Theaters are not able to reopen. Theater is about the last place people are willing to come back to.

Specific Questions Related to Infrastructure – Michael Hildebrand

Given that many of the people who have been working are in lower paying service jobs and often have issues related to access to transportation, has that been a challenge for some of your businesses and workers during the crisis? If so, how has your employers or community addressed the challenge?

Pre-COVID, we were convening COG, county, city, office on aging, chamber and others to address transportation, trying to get plan updated, but progress stopped with COVID. Looks like there are state/federal $$ for a small, scalable transportation initiative

What has been the availability of broad band and internet within your county? Is lack of internet access a major or minor issue for your communities?

 Toby Chappell (Greenwood County): Schools have used buses for wifi; particularly in the southern part of the county, lack of internet is a huge issue. If and when the gov. releases money, that’s going to be an area we try to address

Heather: not just access, but ability to pay—we’ve been looking at people in the city limits who have access to a gig but can’t afford it.

Social Service Needs & Challenges – Justine Allen

To what level has the school district (or districts depending on the county) played a role in supporting social service needs, especially for school age children? Do you foresee that continuing into the summer?

Toby: buses for wi-fi, a lot of food delivery

Emily Findley (United Way of Greenwood and Abbeville): partnered with YMCA to expand food program; working on what summer programming will be

Have there been any specific efforts in your community targeted at supporting seniors? If so, what has been the result and feedback?

Emily: requests for food have involved seniors—access to internet is an issue

Focus on delivery; senior food vouchers requires them to pick up, focusing on safely

Largest increase in food—small retailers, newly unemployed seek food pantries before applying for food stamps

Rent / utility assistance—will go up in the future

Are there clear groups of people within your community who are not being served to the level needed so far in the crisis (falling through the cracks)? If so, what support do you need to try and reach those groups?

Emily: college students are a lot of the ones who worked the jobs that were lost and were unable to get the stimulus money because they’re dependents of their parents

Denise Manley (Lander University): started a crisis fund, have assisted 50 students so far, apply through health and wellness office, max of $300, have assisted with rent, utilities, transportation, gas vouchers. Continue to raise money. Within 17 days of shutdown, money was available. Will reopen fully in the fall, faculty and staff coming back in waves in 3 phases. All back by August, training through the summer on adjustments

General Wrap-Up Questions – Sharon Purvis will start and then others can follow-up

Are there any type of resources that would be helpful that maybe you have not seen or seen used in other places that might be helpful to have some exposure to for your county?

Business community needs promotion, doesn’t have money to spend on advertising to drive customers back into businesses such as targeted billboards to multi-county areas to shop local.

Terence: Is there a concern about legacy businesses that are not coming back?

Lara: businesses have pivoted and done a great job maintaining.Lara – what grants, funds available, could borrow models from other communities. Need to look to future.

Given the continued uncertainty around the crisis, do you in general feel that your county is well prepared to be able to maintain support for the ongoing challenges if there is a need for 3-6 months or longer or are you concerned that resources and support could dry up and fatigue are close?

Heather: working with SC Works, COG, Piedmont Tech with (Met)? closing to address re-training. Were below 3% unemployment in April. Must work smart to keep employees in Greenwood. 50-100 jobs forthcoming.

 

Laurens County: May 28th

You can click here to see a video of the meeting.

Initial Questions – Dean Hybl 

Start with quick survey about general impact & response of COVID-19 in county. Survey results:

Results from 15 RespondentsWithin your county, how do you feel the needs of your local and county governments have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your local (non-chain or franchise) small businesses and entrepreneurs have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your schools, colleges, and universities have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
When it comes to social services and health care in Laurens County, how do you feel your community’s personal well-being needs have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your restaurants and retail stores have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your manufacturers and other larger employers have been met?Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
 Average7Average6Average7Average7Average6Average8
 Mean7Mean5Mean7Mean7Mean6Mean7
 Min5Min1Min3Min3Min3Min5
 Max9Max10Max10Max10Max10Max10

Have you formed new local, regional or state partnerships to address the crisis? If so, please name.

Amanda Munyan (President & CEO, Laurens County Chamber of Commerce): Laurens County recovery task force—a lot who are on this call. Discovery phase, gathering information, inviting different people, one-on-one conversations. Figuring out where we need to collaborate.

Justin Benfield (COO, Prisma Health Upstate Southern Region): having stakeholders around the table is helpful. Need to do a better job of communicating around the county. Work is being done, but people don’t know.

Were there existing local, regional or state partnerships that you have used to help during this crisis? If so, please name.

Jonathan Irick (Executive Director, Main Street Laurens): When COVID started, we were having Finally Friday event, and that Monday, our downtown network got started sharing best practices, etc. Group photos, video. Mayor did videos, and others. Mainstreet SC is under municipal association of SC

Ernie: COG board sent out information on compliance, regulations, etc.

Alesia Carter (Executive Director, United Way of Laurens County): UW of SC, OneSC, agencies that we fund we’ve been in contact with, also other nonprofits to help where needed

Specific Questions Related to Economic Development – Erin Ouzts

Before the crisis, what would you say was the health of small businesses and entrepreneurs in your community (robust, growing, average, below average)? Who were/are the “go to” resources and organizations within your community that support small businesses and entrepreneurs?

Jonathan: pretty robust, and has stayed that way. New businesses getting ready to open. Some working on interior/exterior uplifts

Ben Calhoun (Area Manager, SCSBDC): Coming in, we were on pace to have a record year for new business startups, positive momentum until March, very healthy

Amanda: Agree with Jonathan and Ben that we were growing, but businesses that have been here for many years were average and we didn’t realize it—no social media, etc.

In what ways, specifically, has the crisis impacted those small businesses and entrepreneurs?

Jonathan: paying employees under the table couldn’t get PPP because they couldn’t show employees; a lot have said they’re not eligible for any funding

Ben: heard from some that banking relationship isn’t accepting their business—connect with SBDC

How quickly do you think your small business & entrepreneur culture can quickly recover as sheltering in place declines?

Ben: clients I’ve worked with are a mixed bag—depends how prepared they were going in, with cash flow, social media, etc. Others haven’t gotten far in strategic planning, etc.

Ernie: worry about businesses in outlying areas, depend on lake traffic for livelihood. Laurens and Clinton will be fine

What resources or strategies has your community used to help small businesses and entrepreneurs?

Amanda: Main Street Laurens did a survey to gauge comfort of residents to return to businesses, created a “smart start” playbook, did a couple of workshops, Ben Calhoun has been doing small business workshops, Jonathan did virtual workshop on opening workshop back up

Jonathan: $10K grant from Main Street USA, technology audit, goal is to be done before holiday shopping season, checklist to see where businesses are with social media, marketing, etc. Grant $$ to help get businesses online

Amanda: utilized social media campaigns that were already in place—#thinklocalLaurensCounty, started local business video

Have there been specific challenges for your manufacturing and larger employers that is different than for smaller businesses or retail? If so, how has it been addressed?

Lynn Finley (Assistant Director, Laurens County Development Corporation): largest impact for mfg was automotive, which had already softened prior to the pandemic, that’s the group we saw to have the greatest impact. Unemployment claims (currently at 14.2%), 40% of workforce tied to mfg. Majority of mfg going back into operation in May, should show decrease in unemployment. A lot of success stories: fortunate that we’re diversified, a number saw increases and were hiring during the pandemic. New mfg has come to the county. Haven’t learned of any that will permanently close. Still having RFIs and site visits.

Ernie: very important to shore up the development corporation, it’s been invaluable to the county

Are there legacy business that won’t come back?

Jonathan: Don’t have any that we’ve lost permanently, one or two that I’m concerned about, almost all are open in some capacity, some never closed at all.

Specific Questions Related to Infrastructure

Given that many of the people who have been working are in lower paying service jobs and often have issues related to access to transportation, has that been a challenge for some of your businesses and workers during the crisis? If so, how has your employers or community addressed the challenge?

Ernie Segars (Retired Laurens County Administrator): in years past it’s been a terrible problem because we didn’t have any, issues with hospital access. It’s a big county, a lot of rural areas completely untouched. Looked at a Laurens/Clinton connection, money was always a problem. Chronic problem that needs to be addressed.

Justin: outside of the one private sector transp resource, not sure if he’s been impacted

What has been the availability of broad band and internet within your county? Is lack of internet access a major or minor issue for your communities?

Alesia: teachers have talked about internet access and that there are a lot of areas without access because students had to get somewhere that they could connect.

Ernie: niece and nephew live on Newbery line, cannot connect, 10 miles from Clinton.

Jonathan: dist. 55 had buses with wifi, also distributing lunches (Amanda: 56 did the same)

Amanda: has been a topic on our task force. SC Chamber put out a work plan outline, that’s something they’re looking at as well

Social Service Needs & Challenges – Justine Allen

To what level has the school district (or districts depending on the county) played a role in supporting social service needs, especially for school age children? Do you foresee that continuing into the summer?

Ernie: meals will continue

Justin: both school districts have task forces getting off the ground, there will be a wide variety of topics

Jonathan: schools typically continue school lunches, so they’ll probably keep doing the bused lunches

Amanda: Lakelands Y is also working with d 55 to do a summer reading program, initiatives outside of the feeding

Jonathan: rely heavily on social media, local media also do a good job of getting communication out

Alesia: SC Empowerment does food boxes for kids, go into neighborhoods to distribute

Have there been any specific efforts in your community targeted at supporting seniors? If so, what has been the result and feedback?

Alesia: SC Empowerment also distributing to seniors

Are there clear groups of people within your community who are not being served to the level needed so far in the crisis (falling through the cracks)? If so, what support do you need to try and reach those groups?

Ernie: large poor community, need to try to contact them to meet needs

Alesia: seniors, UW gave out more than 100 food boxes, but transportation is an issue,, some seniors are afraid to come out, ask people who come to take them to others

Jacki Berkshire (PC): most students off campus right now, 12 or 13 on campus who may be homeless or safer on campus than at home. Bringing them back will be interesting. Students have an impact on small businesses. Pleasantly surprised at numbers of new freshmen and transfers. As far as meeting their needs, we’ve been able to provide support for online learning. Provided funding, made other

General Wrap-Up Questions – Sharon Purvis will start and then others can follow-up

Are there any collaborative partnerships (local, regional or state) that you wish could have been formed early on in the crisis? If so, if they were developed now, would they still be helpful?

We are just now forming task forces and figuring out what we need so we don’t know.

Would be nice to have instructions re requirements and also how will we get all of the supplies and masks we need? Our school task force is just now starting to address.

Is there a local effort that was already ongoing (we will know these in many of the counties and can specifically refer to them) that has been put to the “back burner” due to the COVID-19 crisis? If so, what is the current status and do you see the effort starting to again move forward soon? If so, what can we or others do to help?

Still moving forward with the referendum for November. The commissioner is still working on it.

 

Union County: June 2nd

You can click here to watch a video of the meeting.

Initial Questions – Dean Hybl

Start with quick survey about general impact & response of COVID-19 in county. Poll results:

Results from 9 Union County RespondentsWithin your county, how do you feel the needs of your local and county governments have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your local (non-chain or franchise) small businesses and entrepreneurs have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your schools, colleges, and universities have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
When it comes to social services and health care in Union County, how do you feel your community’s personal well-being needs have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your manufacturers and other larger employers have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your restaurants and retail stores have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
 Average7Average5Average7Average7Average7Average6
 Mean6Mean5Mean7Mean6Mean6Mean5
 Min4Min3Min4Min4Min5Min3
 Max8Max8Max9Max9Max8Max9

Have you formed new local, regional or state partnerships to address the crisis? If so, please name.

Katherine Pengergrass (Union County Workforce Development): We’ve been partnering with different groups to provide PPE and sanitization. Worked with COG to try to find funding to reimburse.

Dean: More organic, no community task force?

Ann Angermeier (Upstate Workforce Board): We’ve been trying to get Main Street Junction, trying to get the site so that we can have 6-feet distancing. Hopefully on the 17th we can meet. Hope to tap into the $1.7 billion coming into the state for economic development and small business recovery.

Were there existing local, regional or state partnerships that you have used to help during this crisis? If so, please name

Katherine mentioned COG: Other than leaning on Reita for help in other areas and Nikki in workforce. Phone call with restaurant owners. Mainly the COG. Eric, the EMT director is responsible for supplies, so we were able to get sanitation supplies to take to businesses

Nikki Burgess (SC Works): Local DSM board was able to get supplies from the national stockpile.

Specific Questions Related to Economic Development – Erin Ouzts

Before the crisis, what would you say was the health of small businesses and entrepreneurs in your community (robust, growing, average, below average)? Who were/are the “go to” resources and organizations within your community that support small businesses and entrepreneurs?

Katherine: several businesses were doing quite well and this knocked them off their feet

Ann: You can’t put but so many people in a plant at 6-foot distance. No incubator in Union

Reita Drinkwine (Union County Library): We’ve also been able to work with the county COVID-19 task force (Eric is the best!) to get supplies

I agree with Katherine about growing—they’ve even been looking at adding businesses in Carlisle

I’ve referred some folks to the SBDC for support getting back up and running

SBDC is housed in the library

Nikki: Scott Beardmore is the SBDC Representative for Union County, he visits the Library twice a month but doesn’t have many clients.

In what ways, specifically, has the crisis impacted those small businesses and entrepreneurs?

(covered in other answers)

How quickly do you think your small business & entrepreneur culture can quickly recover as sheltering in place declines?

Ann: Was surprised at how many administrative positions and healthcare were claiming unemployment. 80% of claims were job attached, with a date in the system. Some people will be brought back sooner than others. Mfg will take a while to get back. Need to do outreach for food service and retail on UI claims filed.

Katherine: a lot of businesses are coming back but may have to have price increases because vendors are raising prices.

Ann: Food systems trickling down, prices of meat are an issue

Katherine: Call with restaurants, having them share their resources and networks. Not a competition, but helping each other

Nikki: Waffle House unable to get supplies, Katherine was able to take 30 face masks.

What are go-to resources?

Ann: meetings by appointment with SBDC

Katherine: Arthur State bank was great with processing loans to keep businesses afloat

John Coxner (Arthur State Bank): getting guidance on guidelines for loan forgiveness. Constantly evolving, trying to stay on top. Doing a lot of reading up on the process.

Dean: Was record keeping and financial records an issue?

JC: segment hurt the most was self-employed, but they were some who needed it the most. Second round of PPP saved a lot of businesses. First round came and went pretty quickly.

Ann: Unemployment was a nightmare because of long phone waits. Even applying now, they might be able to go back to April 1. Additional 450 people hired to work on unemployment. There were a variety of factors with people not employing. 1099 workers need to get applications in to bring those funds back to the county.

From Rieta to Everyone: I think small business folks have also been reaching out to USDA for funding to get started

From Nikki Burgess to Everyone:  I had someone who is self employed that received a good chunk of unemployment as well.

Specific Questions Related to Infrastructure – Michael Hildebrand

Given that many of the people who have been working are in lower paying service jobs and often have issues related to access to transportation, has that been a challenge for some of your businesses and workers during the crisis? If so, how has your employers or community addressed the challenge?

Ann: Spartanburg will be asking for money, Union County will need to look at transportation money in the future

Katherine: Employers didn’t feel it was a great need when we did a survey. It is an issue, though—people are walking in dangerous area. There is funding available, but it’s taking longer than anticipated

Nikki: we do see that that’s a barrier with individuals. Often more than just transporation

As more people look to go back to work, what are some of the fundamental challenges that your community is trying to understand and address?

Reita: Literacy. Very complicated issue in Union. Another major issue is access to internet. Communication is our biggest barrier, and that is connected to literacy.

Nikki: That literacy also ties back to unemployment

John: Awareness—UW is trying to find ways to spend funds

Ann: GED program is so far out of the city, so transportation is an issue

Nikoya: Regarding literacy, we haven’t received from Union, but Spartanburg/Greer there’s a lot of internet issues, or computer literacy

What has been the availability of broad band and internet within your county? Is lack of internet access a major or minor issue for your communities?

Katherine: Major

Ann: even at Simms Middle school, we couldn’t connect to the internet (this is clarified later that it’s because she had an outside device, but internet connectivity in schools is federally regulated)

Timika: Perhaps the agencies should look at more mobile phone applications that can cater to the individuals. Meet them where they are. We should be able to do an unemployment application on the phone.

Oconee County: June 3rd

We apologize—due to technical difficulties, we do not have a video of this meeting.

Initial Questions – Dean Hybl and/or TATT Board Members

Start with quick survey about general impact & response of COVID-19 in county. Poll results:

8 Respondents from Oconee CountyWithin your county, how do you feel the needs of your local and county governments have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your local (non-chain or franchise) small businesses and entrepreneurs have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your schools, colleges, and universities have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your manufacturers and other larger employers have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
When it comes to social services and health care in Oconee County, how do you feel your community’s personal well-being needs have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your restaurants and retail stores have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
 Average8Average7Average8Average9Average8Average7
 Mean8Mean6Mean7Mean8Mean7Mean6
 Min6Min4Min3Min6Min6Min3
 Max10Max10Max10Max10Max9Max10

Were there existing local, regional or state partnerships that you have used to help during this crisis? If so, please name

Paul Cain (Oconee County Council): Regarding the tornado there has been a ton of cooperation; 500K raised, etc. Not as sure about COVID; we have been informed and updated but not a collective effort.

Paul: re: covid, I had discussed with Amanda brock early in February as to whether we needed to establish a task force for covid. She said we have emergency mgmt. plans in place for pandemics/epidemics so from a county standpoint county staff has been coordinating with Prisma Health on that. Been pretty well handled on the county end. It is frustrating because we cannot recycle (staff touches it), but next week recycling will start again. SC emergency mgmt. group has a long term recovery group established. All groups (SC based or Samaritans purse) have all gone back to the next mission/HQs so now it is up to the local state, churches, etc. to respond to the long term needs (requires coordination).

Sen. Thomas: United Way is a good partner; lots of good partners. Thank you.

Specific Questions Related to Economic Development – Erin Ouzts

 Before the crisis, what would you say was the health of small businesses and entrepreneurs in your community (robust, growing, average, below average)? Who were/are the “go to” resources and organizations within your community that support small businesses and entrepreneurs?

Dave Eldridge (Tri-County Economic Development Corporation): robust; everything was going smoothly with business incubator (average 5-10 companies in there); I’ve been quite pleased how things are going.

Annie Caggiano (Oconee Economic Alliance): We have put in a lot of nice programs for our small companies (Walhalla, Seneca—local grants). Small businesses can apply for $300/week under grants for small businesses. Worked with newspaper where we raised 75K for local advertising for small businesses. Concentrated on 25 or less employees (the ones who did not qualify for govt programs). Borg Warner business—quickly back within 2 weeks. Some clients are single person business and face to face; which is difficult.

Erin: Were there cases of businesses where their books were not in order so could not apply for loans?

Dave: we had a lot of people who had people available to sit down and assist with that. We fared quite well. With the safety net with the local groups coming up with local funds (Walhalla $300/week grant) has helped.

Erin: Back to normal? Timeframe?

Annie: Activity has stayed consistent. We are in the process of turning things around.

Dave is the entrepreneur guru, our manufacturers/industrial clients have fared very very well. Not many went after the govt money. Not affected by tornado, covid – steady and we don’t have anything to come out of. Oconee’s economy is strong. City of Seneca had a great program where they encouraged city employees to eat at local restaurants (show receipt, get reimbursed). Future is bright.

Erin: how did your companies fare so well? Turn back so quickly?

Dave Eldrige: Walhalla city council stepped up, local business working together, city of Seneca, etc. Working for 3 years to get the Main St up and running; just in past 2 weeks we have finally done it. City of Seneca has had online presentations and workshops so local leaders have participated, merchants all participating.

Senator: thank the county for Think Oconee (already in place). Those seeds that were planted already have really paid off.

Specific Questions Related to Infrastructure – Michael Hildebrand

As more people look to go back to work, what are some of the fundamental challenges that your community is trying to understand and address?

Annie: Emily handles workforce development, but getting people back to work is key.

Paul Corbeil (Oconee County Council, retired): the safety aspect from different employers (through Accelerate SC), 1. Are people ready to go and 2. Are people willing to go back out and then economics. Need to make sure companies have the safety measures in place. You can open up but people won’t come unless they feel good. Also, you need to protect your employees.

Is transportation a barrier?

Paul Corbeil: expanded to Walhalla. A relatively new nonprofit org called RIDETOWORK, if an individual has a job to take, but no transportation. They’ll subsidize transportation for 3 months. Puts people out of work back to work. Helps people who cannot afford insurance/car.

Paul Cain: expanded to Tricounty campus. Public perception that the amount of money spent on Catbus isn’t justified due to lack of ridership. Goal is to get people to their jobs/education/healthcare, but it is expensive. We have a lot of great resources here due to leadership of Mr. Corbeil and others who have taken unconventional avenues to address issues.

What has been the availability of broad band and internet within your county? Is lack of internet access a major or minor issue for your communities?

Paul Corbeil: In 2011 there was a federal program introduced; underserved areas could apply for grants. We stuck our necks out and were granted and in 2.5 years connecting much of Oconee county was completed. But it was not within our strong suit to manage it; we entered an agreement with a local company. City to city (where commercially we had broadband). Has generated business expansion because technically you can run a big IT system/business here in our county.

Paul Cain: system has been leased to 3rd party company. Last mile in any utility or business, reaching the end user is the most challenging and expensive part of the system. That has been a challenge. It’s been difficult to reach those last mile folks. (4 weeks no internet after tornado). Last mile we will probably use wireless tech.. There is also blue ridge cooperative electric may expand through their system as well. There is hope for the future. We need to be patient. Lacks internet like sewers but we will get there.

Dean: affordability of internet/access. What is the affordability in Oconee? $45-90/month for internet in the city.

 Social Service Needs & Challenges – Justine Allen

To what level has the school district (or districts depending on the county) played a role in supporting social service needs, especially for school age children? Do you foresee that continuing into the summer?

Paul Corbeil: Our school district did have a food delivery program/teachers and staff prepared and delivered foods; learning at home – very positive.

Allison Smith (United Way of Oconee County): buses, you could also go to the school, churches, etc. had food/wifi,

 Has your county been able to identify additional local financial resources to help support social service needs? If so, how has it been organized?

Allison Smith: CARES and emergency funds; CARES allocation just took place Friday so some of those funds are available.

Any sections of the population that are falling through the cracks?

Allison Smith: Partnership for seniors/farmers market moved online because of COVID and we’ve had a lot of trouble with that; seniors don’t have access to internet/email or don’t want to fool with it. Rent/mortgage assistance is back up now that evictions are back on. Utilities assistance and food. Funds will be available soon. A waiver has been applied for regarding the farmers market for seniors/waiting to hear from Columbia.

General Wrap-Up Questions

Are there any collaborative partnerships (local, regional or state) that you wish could have been formed early on in the crisis? If so, if they were developed now, would they still be helpful?

Paul Cain: we have not had an official debrief, but COMMUNICATION between stakeholders/customers/clients/constituents is paramount in any situation, especially in a disaster situation. Especially w/o electricity. How to distribute and receive information. This is something we must fix. If you don’t have electricity and how receive information. If they cannot listen to radio, watch news, or charge phones. Govt needs to put a plan in place.

Emily DeRoberts (Duke Energy): Duke energy has suspended disconnects but eventually we will need to start up again.  Need to address the utility bills that have been piling up since March. Got approval to extend payments out six months. There may be some people who may never be able to catch up.

Brandon McCurley (Fort Hill Natural Gas Authority): most utilities are still on no cutoffs. For natural gas it is different—we are used to seeing a drop off during hotter months. 10-15% drop by lower incomes.

Abbeville County: June 4th

You can click here to watch a video of the meeting.

Initial Questions – Dean Hybl

Start with quick survey about general impact & response of COVID-19 in county. Poll results:

7 Respondents from Abbeville CountyWithin your county, how do you feel the needs of your local and county governments have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your local (non-chain or franchise) small businesses and entrepreneurs have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your schools, colleges, and universities have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
When it comes to social services and health care in Abbeville County, how do you feel your community’s personal well-being needs have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your manufacturers and other larger employers have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your restaurants and retail stores have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
 Average7Average6Average6Average8Average7Average6
 Mean7Mean5Mean6Mean7Mean7Mean6
 Min5Min4Min5Min5Min7Min5
 Max9Max7Max7Max9Max8Max7

 

Have you formed new local, regional or state partnerships to address the crisis? If so, please name.

Stephen Taylor (Abbeville County Economic Development): line of communication with the city has been good, talk about once a week to make sure we’re on the same page. SBA, VCOG have done really well getting information. PPP with small mfg were a challenge.

Rick Green (Upper Savannah COG): Waiting for direction from fed and state resources. Grants will be available, but waiting on deadlines for applications. We know some things that need to be done, just waiting to be able to do it.

Emily Findley (United Way of Greenwood and Abbeville): Be Healthy, new weekly email

Meg Jackson (Abbeville Area Medical Center): working closely with area hospitals, mobile COVID testing just hit 400 participants, working closely with EMS, city and county

Mike Clary (City of Abbeville): Not an over-arching task force, but all staying in communication on a weekly basis. Letting each agency lead the charge in their service area.

Lee Logan (Freshwater Coast Community Foundation): Doctor from the hospital was on a call, talking about the virus in Abbeville. SC is very diverse, it’s not one size fits all. Not a destination county. Abbeville hospital is taking on the role of informing the county. Testing to set a baseline.

Paul Bell (Erskine College): Erskine, Due West, and Self Regional, joining forces with medical providers for student screening, how to open safely. Also research that can possibly be published.

Specific Questions Related to Economic Development – Erin Ouzts

Before the crisis, what would you say was the health of small businesses and entrepreneurs in your community (robust, growing, average, below average)? Who were/are the “go to” resources and organizations within your community that support small businesses and entrepreneurs?

Mike: Small businesses in the city had a good bit of momentum, then events stopped suddenly. Certainly all bus have been impacted. None permanently closed. All but a couple of restaurants have reopened. Two new businesses have been added. Biggest gap is what the fed gov’t thinks of as a “small business”—programs are geared toward bigger businesses than Abbeville’s

Stephen: Large industries doing well except one that’s in the automotive segment. One of the “bigger fish” grabbed the funds, it was harder on the smaller ones. Several industries business as usual

Regional banks, local banks more responsive than the big banks. Maybe don’t run through a bank? Not sure how it would work.

Susan Jackson (Congressman Jeff Duncan’s Office): It’s been tough. Very proud of Abbeville County. Now that money has been distributed, calls have slowed down. If there’s a round 2, we’ll be better prepared to jump those hurdles.

Mike: SBDC has been wonderful, offering all the assistance they could. Local bankes especially been very helpful. One thing I’ve been working on is looking at Abbeville as an entrep ecosystem and what resources we do have. SBDC is primary resource provider.

How quickly do you think your small business & entrepreneur culture can quickly recover as sheltering in place declines?

Stephen: Some businesses starting to see a pickup.

Challenge: businesses haven’t had books in order, which makes it hard to get PPP loans.

Susan: some of the smaller bus didn’t have access to what the larger busiineses had. Our office had to help navigate them through the system. Hoping next time we’ll be better prepared.

Stephen: One thing that hindered the PPP was the verbiage—some of the businesses would have been OK without it, and other companies should have taken priority

  • What resources or strategies has your community used to help small businesses and entrepreneurs?
  • Have there been specific challenges for your manufacturing and larger employers that is different than for smaller businesses or retail? If so, how has it been addressed?

Specific Questions Related to Infrastructure – Michael Hildebrand

  • Given that many of the people who have been working are in lower paying service jobs and often have issues related to access to transportation, has that been a challenge for some of your businesses and workers during the crisis? If so, how has your employers or community addressed the challenge?

Emily: from the 211 standpoint, no increase in transportation calls—transportation is typically an issue already

Mike:

  • As more people look to go back to work, what are some of the fundamental challenges that your community is trying to understand and address?

Emily: Getting people to work where the jobs are

Rick: transit is an issue in every area—medical, work, etc. There are agencies that take their own people, but no public option.

  • What has been the availability of broad band and internet within your county? Is lack of internet access a major or minor issue for your communities?

Mike: No major issues—WCTEL placed hot spots through the county for anyone to use free of charge, particularly for students who need

Lee: We do have a robust internet availability, but that doesn’t mean that households are hooked up because they can’t afford or don’t see the value of it. Trying to determine how many of those homes have children who can’t access. 4700 homes not hooked up. Working with school district to make that service available to pay at the lowest possible price so that those children will have access. Trying to figure out engineering of making school tablets only for school. Waived upgrade costs if their internet was too slow. 23 hotspots. Monitored how many people used it

 

 

 

Social Service Needs & Challenges – Justine Allen

  • To what level has the school district (or districts depending on the county) played a role in supporting social service needs, especially for school age children? Do you foresee that continuing into the summer?

Emily: emergency lunch program expanded, Meals to Go will be continuing

  • What organizations have been the leaders within your community in trying to address the needs of individual residents? Have these organizations worked together or been more or less working individually?
  • Has your county been able to identify additional local financial resources to help support social service needs? If so, how has it been organized?
  • Have there been any specific efforts in your community targeted at supporting seniors? If so, what has been the result and feedback?

Internet is an issue with seniors, computer literacy is an issue in addition to access. Senior food voucher program. Food and hunger alliance, Abbeville is part of that.

  • Are there clear groups of people within your community who are not being served to the level needed so far in the crisis (falling through the cracks)? If so, what support do you need to try and reach those groups?

Paul: A number of Erskine students unable to go home.

Question to Meg: have you seen instances of the hospital being the place where people seek resources?

Meg: I haven’t seen anything like that. There’s a lot of outreach from nonprofit organizations. Be Well Abbeville has done  a good job of communicating about resources.

Emily: 211 is a little underutilized in Abbeville—Greenwood has resources that also service Abbeville

General Wrap-Up

Stephen: Census—April 1 is Census Day.

Mike: Downtown activity is based on tourism (opera house, cancelled our spring events) so those are on hold. Tourism development has been put on hold. Hospital—trying to reassure people that it is safe. Needs business back.

Lee: TATT has a role of how we can get back to the new normal. It won’t be the same as before. That is hard for rural people. Because we are small we can move faster on change. Challenge TATT towards collaboration and keeping us together. We can go a lot farther if we go together. Answers are not always available right here in this community, so working together is necessary. How can we better prepared the next time it comes around.

Susan Jackson: zoom has been wonderful for me, it is hard to get to Greenville so I feel more connected with the board and connecting with other counties. Prior to COVID, we were making huge strides with the transportation piece. TATT is an incredible group of people that is vital, especially during these times.  Rural mobility Task Force.

 

Pickens County: June 5th

You can click here to watch a video of the meeting.

Initial Questions – Dean Hybl and/or TATT Board Members

Start with quick survey about general impact & response of COVID-19 in county. Survey results:

12 Respondents from Pickens CountyWithin your county, how do you feel the needs of your local and county governments have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your local (non-chain or franchise) small businesses and entrepreneurs have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your schools, colleges, and universities have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your manufacturers and other larger employers have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
When it comes to social services and health care in Pickens County, how do you feel your community’s personal well-being needs have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
Within your county, how do you feel the needs of your restaurants and retail stores have been met?
Rate from 1-10.
1=not met at all; 10=met on all levels
 Average8Average6Average8Average8Average8Average6
 Mean8Mean6Mean8Mean8Mean8Mean6
 Min6Min4Min6Min7Min6Min4
 Max10Max9Max9Max9Max10Max9

 

Have you formed new local, regional or state partnerships to address the crisis? If so, please name. Were there existing local, regional or state partnerships that you have used to help during this crisis? If so, please name.

Ken Roper (Pickens County Administrator): staff really stepped up and innovate. Frustration: small businesses/restaurants/nonchainstores suffering. Hope that the next thing we have knowledge base built up. Feel “helpless”. City council is considering some aid.

Roy Costner (Pickens County Council): Help our at-risk population; working together (airport guy). Need 3 readings before local govt can pass something. Discrepancy between regulations at school vs somewhere else.

Ken Roper: Ordinance to coordinate with other agencies in state of emergency; this was “seeing in to the future”.  Airport director with 1.5 employees (airport closed), used other county employees who couldn’t work and we repurposed staff – airport staff covered meals on wheels, collecting food, assisting united way on phone calls, etc. Covered state work too.

Specific Questions Related to Economic Development – Erin Ouzts

Before the crisis, what would you say was the health of small businesses and entrepreneurs in your community (robust, growing, average, below average)? Who were/are the “go to” resources and organizations within your community that support small businesses and entrepreneurs?

Ray Farley: very robust/growing/staffing shortages.

Susan: with sports at Clemson everything was thriving.

Ben: yes, tremendous climate, things were moving really well.

Cindy: agree; in terms of business in Easley/activity in Chamber programs and activities were the highest we had seen in over a year. SBCD, Chamber, etc stepped up. National Chamber has stepped up and we’ve made resources available to locals. We are membership based but during this time we have opened all programs and services to non members. State and US Chamber have made resources available to anyone who wants them (free).

Ben Smith: we were tracking the best/most optimistic year we ever had. With the immediacy and depth of the crisis, people didn’t know what to do. Working with chambers to have some immediate town hall conversations dealing with immediate response guidance. Then it was how do we have enough money/emergency capital. Then we had IDLE grant and loan process. Gov got our SMALL businesses approved for idle grant and loan from SBA. PPP came along with CARES act. Then shifted to emergency capital and then compliance via family (for less than 500 employees). Increased employee rights. Sen Thomas Alexander early on so smalls knew about employer file claims, etc. Getting money to the families. Through unemployment options.  Coordination through local and state organizations.

Susan Cohen: initial panic/how do you pivot your business to gift cards/curbside/etc. Second wave of panic was paperwork, compliance, how to manage it all. There are a lot of businesses are short staffed. There is concern bringing people back since people make more money on unemployment. Chamber lives/breathes based on Clemson, but sports events, summer camps, graduation/orientation – all that Clemson stuff has hurt badly. Chamber is trying to refocus. Funneling our promotions to non university activity. How do we do that until all of the distancing loosens up. How do you have an event with restrictions in place. Lots of things are funded by accommodations tax which is LOW. We see more challenges for us (at our org) than even some of the businesses. 501C3s were left out of PPP.

Rick Murphy (SC Department of Commerce): community really came together quickly. Nature of this community.

Specific Questions Related to Infrastructure – Michael Hildebrand

Given that many of the people who have been working are in lower paying service jobs and often have issues related to access to transportation, has that been a challenge for some of your businesses and workers during the crisis? If so, how has your employers or community addressed the challenge?

Ray: without a shadow of a doubt, transportation is an issue. Our only provider is CAT and CAT only services a portion of the county. The bulk of the area does not include public transportation service.

M: how are businesses addressing this?

Ray: encouraging carpooling

What has been the availability of broad band and internet within your county? Is lack of internet access a major or minor issue for your communities?

Ray: demand. Supply is there, so cash is there. The demand is missing. Folks are still reluctant to re-engage in the community.  Broadband weakness in the community. Mapping broadband. FCC maps were developed, we are mapping our own.

Ken: broadband: one thing we learned through the covid process: those areas where we had service we seamlessly rolled on. For those without it was difficult.

Roy: communication-the one thing we learned is communication is critical and key and access to education/emergency services need to be able to communicate. Ken and I cannot speak when we drive through certain areas of the county. There are agreements in place at state level; county cannot make changes or build infrastructure as county council. I want to know more about that. City of Liberty calling daily for internet change; kids cannot get online. Contracts have already been signed.

Byrd: education ….missed some…. We have made very few calls to social services/I fear what we missed because we didn’t know about the needs.

Social Service Needs & Challenges – Justine Allen

To what level has the school district (or districts depending on the county) played a role in supporting social service needs, especially for school age children? Do you foresee that continuing into the summer?

Byrd: Doing a superintendent internship. I got to organize the food service process for the county. 12 sites prepared breakfast/lunches. We sent busses out 3 weeks to cover entire week’s meals. At end of it, we had served 550K to 600K meals. Great service and another way to get eyes on the kids and to provide normalcy for kids (seeing the yellow bus, familiar). Summer: we switched over to 4 sites (liberty, central, easly, pickens) – you go TO the site. All summer.

Are there clear groups of people within your community who are not being served to the level needed so far in the crisis (falling through the cracks)? If so, what support do you need to try and reach those groups?

Scott Drury/Southern Wesleyan: students stranded on campus living in the residence halls. We have at least one who cannot travel home.

University affiliated family that took her in. .She will move back to campus and stay. For the most part, (not falling through cracks really), Dept of Ed was highly involved in CARES education. They determined intl students would not qualify for aid even though they could not leave. Like college students. We have a lot of students who rely on summer work for tuition/fees in the fall so this will affect them a lot. We are reaching out as we can. FIN AID office and other offices on campus are interacting with students.

 

Salv Army: assisting with money; working closely with United Way—they put together meetings where all the social services are coordinating together (child care, health, etc.). And helping with fundraising for needs, etc. You need all services. Transportation is a large problem – most of who we serve have entry level jobs. Lack of transportation prevents them getting where they need to. We have not seen the push for assistance that we expected. It is trickling in. We expect it will become more of a wave. We are coordinating and communicating so referring people. Food: school system has done a great job. 5 point church and united mission ministries and gleaning house so there is access to resources. But transportation is hard. Tornadoes. United Way started collecting donations, etc. Broadband: service providers moved to web based application process in order to protect their workers.. That is great if you can get on the internet. We haven’t seen the NEED we expected. Maybe the unemployment funds are keeping folks from that need.

General Wrap-Up Questions – Sharon Purvis will start and then others can follow-up

 

 

Pickens United-has that been continuing on? RCostner: created 4 years ago that we did not communicate within the county (county, state, municipalities, organizations in the county).  Last night we had a town hall with senator, and others – ppl could come and social distance and we livestreamed it. Get together quarterly to establish best practices, ways to communicate and work together; that has been on hold. TATT is good because we put ideas together and plan for the future.